Thursday, August 25, 2016

South towards Saint John, NB


Wednesday (Aug 24):

We left the Cranberry Campground and headed south to Moncton NB. We paid our $5.25 Canadian to access the toll road in Nova Scotia that takes you over the pass in the central part of the province. We had a reservations at the Stonehurst Golf Course & RV Park located on the edge of Moncton, NB. We pulled into the campground and were assigned to Site 98. We got set up in the site and found that one of our bedroom slides would not open. The paddle that holds it against the frame while travelling would not unlock – the motor would grind but the paddle did not move. After calling Newmar and describing the problem, we will have to have it repaired at an RV shop. Newmar gave us the name of a RV dealer near Portland Maine where I called and made an appointment with their service department on September 9th to have the slide problem looked at. With the slide in we are not able to get to one set of cabinets and the bedroom became much smaller.

I forgot to mention that Connie drove most of the way on our trip from Halifax to the Cranberry Campground. She even negotiated several tight turns along the way.

Stonehurst is a very nice RV park with a golf driving range and a 9 hole par 3 golf course at the same location. We walked around the grounds and visited the golf course once we had set up for the evening. Since we are only spending the night we don’t get everything out, only what we needed for the night. I wish we had stayed here on our earlier visit to this part of New Brunswick instead of at the campground near the Hopewell Rocks.


Thursday (August 25):

We got up early this morning and packed up for the two hour trip to Saint John, NB. Our trip today was on a divided highway that would be called an interstate road in the USA. We tried to get diesel fuel yesterday before we stopped, but the only station big enough for us in Moncton was a “truckers only” location (you have to have a special card to access the pumps). We stopped today at an Irving Big Stop and pulled into the pumps. We ended up having to drive out of the station and re-enter to pull up to the Cash/Credit Card pump instead of the trucker’s pump we had initially stopped at. We don’t have this issue at truck stops in the USA.

While we were driving south, we passed an odd looking RV. It was a fifth wheel being pulled by a modified Class C motorhome. Definitely would not want to be driving this setup since it is overweight and the king pin on the fifth wheel is way behind the drive axle on the Class C.


We located our campground which is in the Rockwood Park, a public park with RV sites, located right off of the highway in Saint John. We will be spending the next week here in Saint John before crossing the border back into the good old USA.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nova Scotia-Part 4 (Northumberland Shore - Cape Breton)

Sunday (Aug 20):
We made the trip north from Halifax to our new campground on the Northumberland Shore called Cranberry Campground. We got set up on our site 11 which is a large back-in location with full hookups. We have a view of the Merigomish Harbour from our site as we sit in our chairs outside the Duchess.

Most of this campground is occupied with seasonal campers. I had a nice discussion with one of them named Bud who is retired from the Canadian prison system after 35+ years and spends his summers here in the campground. He and his wife have a “park model” RV they keep in the campground year-round. He also plays bass guitar in a local band that plays all over this region.

On Monday we decided to travel towards New Glasgow since our toilet repair part was suppose to arrive at Stone’s RV today. We travelled on through New Glasgow to the village of Pictou. Pictou Harbour is where a large number of Scottish immigrated to Nova Scotia after losing their lands to the British in the mid 1700’s. We walked around town and visited a few of the shops in town. Pictou looks like it needs a lot of work on it’s buildings and infrastructure to become as picturesque as many of the harbor towns in Nova Scotia. They have a replica of one of the ships that brought the Scottish immigrants to the New World along with a small museum.

We then drove west along Hwy 6 for a few miles before deciding to head towards Stone’s RV to see if the part had come in. The part had arrived so we will spend time this afternoon repairing our toilet. We ate lunch at Tim Horton’s (they are all over Canada), pick up a few items at the grocery store before returning to the campground. We removed the toilet, followed the instructions for the repair and then re-installed it. After flushing several times to check everything, we turned the water back on to see if we had any leaks (no leaks). After spending several days having to go to the campground bathrooms (in this part of Canada they call them “washrooms”), we have learned to appreciate having a working toilet in our rig. Especially at our age during the middle of the night.

Tuesday we headed east towards St. George’s Bay and Cape Breton. It was windy all night long along with rain off and on. The winds continued as we left this morning so it was quite cool (temps in high 50’s). It’s August and we both started out with jackets on. We drove along the coastline on Hwy 337. Hwy 337 travels along the Northumberland Shore to Cape George before heading south to Antigonish. We stopped at Livingston Cove to see the lighthouse and harbor. We took a couple of photos before heading on to Cape George.

As we drove up the road from the harbor we noticed the old Catholic church, St. Margaret’s of Scotland, on Hwy 337. The plaque said it was the 2nd oldest Catholic church in this part of Nova Scotia.

We drove along the highway a few more kilometers to reach Cape George and the lighthouse park that is on the cape. We parked in the park and walked the 0.5 kilometer to the lighthouse. It sits right on the cape which is located at the mouth of St. George’s Bay.

As we left Cape George we stopped to take a few pictures of Ballantynes Cove which is located a the bottom of the hill from the cape. It is a beautiful location that pictures don’t do justice. There is a pathway/trail that travels along the coast in this part of Nova Scotia that would be a great place to ride a bike and view the shoreline.

We proceeded on to Antigonish where a large university is located at the edge of town. From there we crossed the Canso Causeway to Port Hastings the first town across the causeway in Cape Breton. Cape Breton is an island and makes up the northern part of Nova Scotia. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center in Port Hastings to get some information on what to see in our limited visit. We drove up the coastline on Hwy 19 to Judique where we stopped at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre. They have a restaurant there where we ate lunch while a two person group (fiddle & piano) played while we ate.

After finishing our lunch we proceed north along Hwy 19 until we reached the Glenora Distillery. Glenora is North America’s first single malt whisky which they call Glen Breton Rare. The whisky is produced by the traditional copper pot stills method using only three ingredients: barley, yeast and water. It can not be called “Scotch” unless it is produced and bottled in Scotland so it is called Canadian Single Malt Whisky. We took a tour of the production facility and at the end of the tour we received a small sample of their 10 year aged whisky (they also have 15 and 20 year aged whisky at a higher price point). I’m not a whisky drinker and Connie did not think it was very smooth for being aged 10 years. The process to create single malt whisky takes a long time and they only make about 1,500 barrels per year. The water used in the production is from a stream that runs under the distillery, the barley from British Columbia and the yeast from South Africa. Glenora was started in 1990 and is still owned by local families.

Scotland has about 125 distilleries that produce a single malt Scotch whiskey where the process first started. The majority of these distilleries in Scotland are owned by large corporation although there about 20 that are still locally owned.

We headed back south to Port Hood where we stopped at a local park and walked out to a point along a boardwalk/sand trail. There is a small beach located here and we saw a person wind surfing out in the bay.

After a long day we headed back to the campground. We starting packing up for our trip to Moncton tomorrow as we start our journey south. In hindsight we wish we had spent more time in this area of Nova Scotia.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nova Scotia-Part 3 (Last Days in Halifax)


Tuesday (Aug 16):

Today we visited the wine country in Nova Scotia. Yes, they have a wine trail that includes about a dozen wineries located along the part of Nova Scotia that borders the Bay of Fundy. We drove north from our campground along Hwy 101 until we reached the town of Windsor. There we stopped at the visitor’s center to get information about the area. A very nice lady in the center gave us a map and pointed out the best sights to stop and see along the wine trail. Windsor claims to be the place where hockey started in North America. There is a pond on the edge of town that is said to be the place where the first hockey game was ever played in the early 1800’s.

We ended up visiting 5 wineries in this part of Nova Scotia. This side of Nova Scotia is warmer than the southern coast and they are able to grow several types of grapes that they use in the production of wine.

Our first stop was at the Saint-Famille Wines in Falmouth. This is a family run winery where we met one of the owners. In this part of Nova Scotia they have a competition each year to produce a blend of grapes (you have to used certain grapes, but not all) to produce a wine called Tidal Bay. The wines are submitted to a panel and approved for sale each year. Each winery changes it’s blend each year, so what you get one year will be different the next year. We tasted several of wines and ended up buying a bottle of their Scotia Red.

Sainte Famille Wines, NSIMG_0141

From there we proceeded to the Luckett’s Winery. This winery was the most impressive of all the one we visited. They have a restaurant along with the winery where they serve lunch every day. It is one of the stops made by all the tour buses so they place was packed with people while we were there. We tasted the wines which we really liked. However the wine was very “pricey” so we opted not to purchase any. They have an old phone booth in the middle of their vineyard where there was a line to get your picture taken inside the booth.

20160816_134211Connie @ Luckett Vineyards, NSLuckett Vineyards, NSLuckett VineyardsMike @ Luckett Vineyards

Mike @ Luckett Vineyards, NS

Our next stop was the L’Acadie Winery which produces organic wines (no chemicals/pesticides are used in the production of the grapes). We met one of the owners. Her husband is the wine maker and has worked in California, Australia and British Columbia before settling in Nova Scotia. We liked the wines we tasted but again did not purchase any. We ate a picnic lunch that we had brought outside this winery before continuing on.

L*ACADIE Vineyards, NSConnie @ L*ACADIE Vineyards, NS

Our next stop was the Gaspereau Winery. We tasted their wines but did not care for any of them.


From Gaspereau we headed towards the Grand Pre’ Historical Site. This is an area that the Acadians settled in the 17th and early 18th century. They used techniques from Europe to create a series of dikes to reclaim land from the sea. This land was very fertile and is still used in agricultural production today. There was an overlook on a hillside where you could see the area that have been reclaimed.


On to the last winery of the day. We drove through Canning NS to reach the Blamidon Estate Winery. This is a small winery where we tasted several of their wines and again didn’t think any of them warranted a purchase. We had a nice conversation with a young man who did the tastings who was born and raised in this part of Nova Scotia.


After visiting our last winery today we headed off to find what is known as the “Look Off”. This is the highest point in this part of Nova Scotia and has a specular view of the coastline. We found the place and took several pictures (as usual pictures do not do it justice).


We proceeded to the Foxhill Cheese Factory where we tasted several of their cheeses. We didn’t buy any cheeses but we did split a bowl of ice cream while we sat on their patio.

Connie Foxhill Cheese Factory, NSFoxhill Cheese Factory, NS

As we were driving back to get on Hwy 101 we saw a sign for the Sea Level Brewery so we had to stop (this was our day for tastings). We stopped in the brewery and were told that the tastings were at the restaurant bar next door. So we went into the bar and had a flight of beers. The beers were OK and we liked the Blueberry Beer the best. We had a conversation with the bartender about the area and the breweries/distilleries that have opened in the last couple of years.

Sea Level Brrewing, NSSea Level Brewing, NS


From the beer tasting we got back on Hwy 101 for the return home at the end of a long day.

Wednesday (Aug 17):

This was a down day for us after driving so much the last couple of days. It rained off and on all day and we stayed inside except for trip to the grocery store.

Thursday (Aug 18):

We had planned to do some hiking and bike riding today. However as we were getting ready to leave, the cable that flushes our toilet broke. We had to get the toilet off the floor and take it apart to find out that the cable had broke. We tried calling several places to see if they had the replacement parts we needed, but no one had the parts in stock and they could not get them until next week. So we ended up calling a RV dealership in New Glasgow and they can have the part in their store next Monday. We were already planning on camping in this area of Nova Scotia for a few days so we will pick the part up while we are there and do the repairs. It hard to believe that RV parts shops don’t stock this type of repair kit since I am sure that it is a common problem. So for the next few days we will be making the trip to the campground bathrooms which luckily are not that far from our site.

Friday (Aug 19):

Today we are going to our hiking and biking that we had planned on doing yesterday. Our first stop was at Shubie Park where we hiked around the Shubenacadie Canal. This was a canal/locks system that we started in the 1820’s and finished in the 1850’s. It was a system of lakes, rivers, canals and locks that provided a waterway from the Bay of Fundy to the Halifax Harbor. It was built by hand with immigrants from Ireland and Germany. By the time it was finished the railroads had completed laying their track and the venture went bankrupt in the 1870’s.


After completing our walk/hike, we drove over to Leighton Dillman Park where we ate a picnic lunch on a hillside overlooking Halifax Harbor. There is a small garden area in the park along with the great views of the harbor.


We drove over the parking area for the Salt March Trail. This is a “rails to trails” pathway that goes across marsh land and bays in the Cole Harbour area. This trail is 6.5 KM in one direction so a total of 13 KM up and back. One we reached the end of the trail we proceeded on the Atlantic Trail to reach the beach that runs along the ocean. The entire ride took us about 2 hours with stops along the way.





We stopped and picked up a large pizza at Alexander’s Pizza near our campground on the way home for our dinner. We got an Italian Pizza and it had a somewhat sweet flavor that we couldn’t identify.

Saturday (Aug 20):

Today we made our last visit to Halifax before we leave tomorrow. We went to the Point Paradise Park which is located at the south end of Halifax. It originally was a fortress used by the British to protect the harbor. Today there are a few remains of the fort with some of the cannons scattered around the walking trails. The park has nice wide trails that are well packed gravel. As you walk around the park you will have some nice views of the harbor.




Once completing our walk (we also walked through a neighborhood with some old/new houses that borders the park), we went downtown to Keith’s Brewery for pint of their Lunenburg Expresso Coffee Stout Beer. We sat on the rooftop patio and enjoyed our beers. We had a nice conversation with our waitress who was born and raised in Halifax.

We returned back to the campground and started packing everything up for our travel day tomorrow. We will we headed to a campground on the northern coast of Nova Scotia near New Glasgow.